Saving

You can buy a sign like this for less than $300.00.  $299.00, to be precise.  There’s an old joke, not too old because it’s as young as computers, but old if you’re old and sick of computers and desperate for an old preacher joke.  The joke goes something something computer programming contest in heaven, Jesus vs. Satan, they both furiously program and right when the time is almost run out, the power goes off.  The power comes back on, Jesus reboots and finishes his programming and Satan is furious.  His work is gone.  “What?!!  All my work is gone because the power went out.  I was almost done!!  It’s not fair!!”  And the punch line as Jesus turns on his beautifully running, now completed computer program:  “Jesus Saves.”

Today in my daydreams I have added an accoutrement to my bunker.  Over the bunker door, I have an imaginary Deon sign.  Which is not as bright as a neon sign because who wants to attract that kind of attention?  I guess Jesus does, because that sign is bright.  All my readers would be invited to the bunker for my Friday night bash.  You know how I’d run that:  Bring your own basher, z-whacker, club, shillelagh, nightstick, bludgeon, or quarter staff.  And bring a bottle of your favorite refreshment.  Because if hundreds of people show up and they’re all thirsty and water just won’t do, Mrs. M will be really angry if I go to the liquor store and just buy up the place.  Because Mrs M is trying to be more like Jesus.

She’s trying to save.

The other impediment to my 4 day Independence Day bash is that we’ll be going out of town to retrieve our little darlings, orphans, hooligans, spoiled brats, or teenagers.  Teenagers mean, for now, an extra car so far, extra insurance bills, extra layout for their clothes, activities, etc., and have you seen kids EAT?!  I remember being described as a human vacuum cleaner, as long as it was food.  I’d love to save.  But I can’t.  I DO care about the kids, so I spent it on them.  Not to mention, I like to eat still, even though I have long outgrown the teen years.  Thank God.  It’s bad enough to be broke and married and depressed.  If  I were broke, hormonal, pimpled, and single again, I would be an even bigger complete disaster.

I can’t be like Jesus.  I want to be, but to be more like Jesus I’ll need one of two things:  1) Less expense, so I can live within my budget and still save for retirement, or the kids’ inheritance, or whatever, or, 2) More income, so I can eat something besides leftovers and rice and ramen noodles.  Wait.  There’s a third option.  If all my friends could come to the bunker and bring their own bottle and one extra bottle and $2, I could have, umm…

…$4.  Or maybe $6 or $8.  Maybe.  Depends if they all show up.  And if they all kick in.  And if they all bring a friend of theirs who can kick in.  That math made me disappointed.  Not in my friends, but in their potential to help me out.  But my friends, like me, are broke, and can’t save.  Which suggests I need friends like Jesus, who already save.  But I like my friends.  They aren’t all pretentious and pious.  They’re real.  Which is probably why I have only a very few.

I reflected on the comments from my last bitch-fest.  And it occurred to me, if I had cash I’d have lots of “friends.”  Yup, I said “friends.”  “Friends” like you because of what they can get.  Friends like you and don’t expect anything.  “Friends” are happy as long as you’re happy and then disappear when your taps are dry.  Friends stick by you no matter what.

I’ve probably got two.  And
Assuming one of you isn’t a drunken hallucination.  I’m not drinking.  I can’t afford it.

For those of you who want to be a “friend,” when I get the cash flow I’m planning for, I planned out what to do.  The bunker door is already locked in preparation.  But for those of you who are really friends, the Deon sign is lit up, and the door will open just for you.  The bunker will look the same, because my heart won’t change when I get the cash.

Come on in.

So I’m already a little like Jesus.  Or maybe like Dorothy the Dinosaur.  Yeah, I’m reminiscing about the kids’ childhoods.  Dorothy was from “The Wiggles.”

“It’s my party, and you’re all invited.”  If you’re my real friends.

In that way, I am like Jesus.  He says that if you’re his friend, he’ll throw open the gates of heaven to welcome you, just like you were a part of the family.  But if you’re just a “friend,” you won’t get in.

Jesus told Nicodemus in the gospel of John, “God loved the world so much he sent his one and only son, (himself, Jesus implies), that whoever believes in him will have eternal life.”  Not “life,” the plastic that evaporates like a dead body  or a dry cash flow.  The real thing.  I’m waiting excitedly for a good eternity and I hope all my friends are there.  This temporary thing sucks.

I don’t hold the keys to heaven, but I know the guy who does.  And I hope you’ll all be there.  Organized religion, even Christendom, including Catholicism, doesn’t hold the keys.  They tell us traditionally who made it into heaven and who didn’t.  And I don’t necessarily agree with the official church positions on certain  things.  I also don’t agree with the faddish, popular churches positions, which may be why I’m not a pastor earning $400K a year.

A friend of mine asked me if I thought Judas was in hell, like all the church traditions seem to hold tightly to.  I said I’d think about it, because he was thinking about it.  And I decided, I think Judas repented of his sin.  Therefore, as a repentant sinner, if I get into heaven for my faith in Jesus, so does Judas.  I think we all have a shot, but we have to put our hearts in the right place.  Not living in guilt about our sin, but honest about it. Understanding that Jesus is the one who can forgive, no one else.  Honest to Jesus, Honest to God, about our sin.  And trusting that Jesus will forgive us.  Jesus saves.

I so hope you’ll be there.  Not just at the bunker door to join my temporary pity party.  But with me and Jesus in eternity.  If you’re not sure how to join the party, let me know, I’ve kind of got the hookup.  Because,

Confuesday

Dear God, it’s me.  …Deon.  You know that already, right?
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“God is not the author of confusion, but the author of peace.”  I Corinthians 14:33a

I woke up today thinking it was Tuesday.

With that, I’ve ripped the half-verse completely out of its’ context.  Or have I?  Today is, says my calendar and my computer, Wednesday.  And I was “guess[ing] what day it is.” No, I will not regale you with more context from that idiotic commercial, although I confess it IS catchy and amusing.  I don’t even know what the product was being advertised, and you don’t have to remind me what they were selling.  The character took in everyone’s minds, but the product, well, not so much. At least not in my mind.  The mascot is supposed to remind us what the product is, but instead it only reminds us what day it is because morning radio and TV suck and they still seem to bring up that character. Some DJ was playing that on yesterday on the radio on the way home at 6PM.  WTH?  They couldn’t wait for Wednesday.  And despite that, this morning, in my morning brain-fuzz, said fuzz told me it was Tuesday.

I checked the computer and did the Wednesday morning tasks, housework, on my way out the door to work.  When you do what I do, which is answer phone calls with questions from idiots, all day long, every day, if you’re me you have two responses:  1)  I NEVER answer the phone at home unless I see the call trace and it’s Mrs M. and 2) Days smoosh grotesquely, one blending horror-mogeneously into one another until Friday night.  And Saturday Morning.  And Saturday night.

Strangely I was too tired to be unhappy thinking it was only Tuesday, and when I found out it was actually Wednesday I was only just a little bit happier.  Tuesday:  the forgotten bastard stepchild of the work week.  But I’m off topic again, sorry for muddling and confusing the reader.  See, I’m NOT God.

I firmly believe “God is not the author of confusion.”  And not just in the confusing arena of spiritual gifts, which is where this verse is rooted.  But IN the arena of spiritual gifts, I think there are charlatans of two kinds:  1) the kind that fake it to puff themselves up in order to make themselves seem more important, more loved by God somehow and 2) the kind that say the spiritual gifts don’t happen in the modern era.  I believe John 14:12 is still in effect because Jesus said it and didn’t say anything after that to undo what he said.  Both of these confusing people muddle up Christianity, and it’s muddled enough.  God allows confusion just like he allowed Satan to fuck with Job in the Old Testament, and I wish He wouldn’t.  And God allows confusion but points out that idea because He knew there would be fakers and liars and denial-preachers.

I want peace.  My God isn’t the author of war, of conflict, of disunity, of suicide bombers, of child abuse, of disease, of hatred, of any of these confusing things.  God is supposed to be the author of peace.  I’m praying for peace, on a Wednesday.

I fought my way to work today, through trying to figure out what to have for lunch, through the extra trip to the bathroom on the way out the door, through taking the trash to the curb, through the coughing congestion fit, through the traffic, through the locked doors since we have to either have a badge or be let in (I was let in until I find the badge I lost or pay for a replacement.), through the passwords into the work systems.  And now I fight my way through the calls.  And then I’ll fight through traffic.

“Six days you should labor and do all your work, and on the seventh, rest.” (Exodus 20:9, Deuteronomy 5:13)  So for six days I get to fight against all hell and routine, and on the seventh I’m supposed to be allowed to rest.  On second thought, routine isn’t an addition to hell.  Routine is part of hell.  The boredom.  The lack of fulfillment.  The lack of peace.

I was confused about that for a few minutes, just like the Tuesday issue, because I thought I remembered reading something about work being a gift from God, which is nonsense.  It turned out I did not remember the exact words, which are:

Ecclesiastes 5: 18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot.

See, it says “LOT.”  NOT “gift.”

And I also found out why I had thought it said “gift,” because right there in the next verse it says
Ecclesiastes 5: 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions,and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.

It’s a gift of God to have wealth and possessions and the ability to enjoy them and to accept their lot and to be happy while working.  It’s not a gift to live in want, nor to be unhappy in my work.  I want this gift.  Because I don’t have this gift, I am tired, depressed, discouraged, empty, bored, angry, bitter, and all the other words.
______________________________________________________________
So, God?  I know You’re busy running a universe and all, but if you have a second or two, can I please have this gift?  It’s what I’ve been asking for for about 15 or so years.  It seems like a simple enough request.  I want to be “someone.”

I want to be THAT “someone.”

How to Deal with Blog Trolls?

How to Deal with Blog Trolls?  6/28/2016, Deon Mumple

I’ve decided how I should
Deal with any trolls:
Not fight it, I’ll write it,
They’ll help with my goals

There’s no point in letting them
Get my soul rattled
I’m bettin’ they’ll be sweatin’
And lose my rap battle!

Do your best, pass the test,
Who knows?  You could win
If the readers, our voters
Give grace for your sin.

We- Will- Be- EPIC!  You critics!
We’ll fight our way through.
Just try me. Tongue tie me.
If I win, fuck you!

Thanks to Spanglish Jill and her readers for the suggestion/idea.

Broken Soul

Broken Soul, 06/27/2016, Deon Mumple

Mine is the soul life keeps breaking
I’ve never learned while it was healing
(Only to almost heal, then break)
what was the lesson I was to take?
I always break less, the other souls
Life breaks seem to pay higher tolls
They come out strong, I come out weak
I break again, become meeker meek
Growing weaker, growing more tired
And there’s no point. I am uninspired.
I’m barely focused, again, to try
Not even courageous enough to die
I’m less and less, and soon no more
Just another life with a losing score.

Shorter

Can we say it in a shorter, quicker, pithier way?

I’m all for concise speech (says the guy who rambles on in his blogs about nothing, or about the same things, again, and again, ad nauseum), but I think the era of twitter and instant messaging has taken this in a negative direction.

Instead of making us better communicators, I believe we’re terrible at it and we are getting worse and not better.  I’m on Twitter, sure.  But I really dislike the way Twitter’s hashtag communication links are bleeding into day-to-day communication.

Please don’t say “hashtag” fill-in-the-blank out loud when you are speaking.  It doesn’t make your conversation pithier or more concise, it makes you sound like an idiot.

I reached the absolute last straw with this “Brexit” thing.  I kept hearing people talk about “Brexit” this, “Brexit” that, and I kept asking myself what the fuck is “Brexit?”  Well, I listened to some news and found out it has to do with Britain Exiting from the European Union.  How the fuck is this making our communication more clear?  Sure it’s concise.  Sure it’s quicker to say.  But it’s not making things clearer and easier to understand.  It’s making our newscasters sound like idiots.

I know you need to be concise and move on to your next story quickly.  Your newscast has to flow #mextly.  Do not fucking start using that term without paying me for the rights.    But if I just randomly started using #mextly, no one would understand what the fuck I’m talking about.  It’s concise, but it’s not clear.  In short, #mextly is as moronic as any of the other shorthanded hashtag expressions that have become a part of our language.

I don’t want life, or communication, to be abbreviated to the point it’s unintelligible gibberish.  But that’s the way absolutely everything has become.

Say what you have to say.  Say. the. words.  If I’m interested I’ll continue listening past the 5 second attention span everyone is down to.  If I get bored, it wasn’t something I wanted, or needed, to know about.  If no one listens, get a clue and shut the fuck up.  Oh, sorry.  I should have said, #STFU, which actually takes MORE time to say.  But somehow it’s more concise.

This One Looks Funny

It must be a certain kind of perversity in my soul.  I started the day with a title in mind, “Disenfranchised,” but I wasn’t inspired to write anything on that.

Vocabulary.Com says Disenfranchised means “stripped of power.”  It goes on to say, ” The rules work against you, your rights are constantly violated, and you have little power to change your life for the better. The Old French word enfranchir means “to make free,” and when you add the negative prefix dis-, disenfranchised means “made unfree.””

I read friends’ blogs in between fits of being forced to work today, and tried to listen to some music but every time I started the music up, the phone rang.  Which is why I need a job that doesn’t say “able to handle constant interruptions.”  Interruptions suck bad enough, but imagine you’re a person who likes to focus on and complete one task before moving on to another, who gets upset when interrupted. It’s on the autism spectrum, and you may not believe it, but autism runs in my family. The first to be diagnosed were my nephews.   My sister had dyslexia before there was anything called dyslexia.  I have a little bit of attention deficit disorder.  I got it from dad.  Surprised you, didn’t I?  Add cyclothymia in all its’ glory.  Add anger issues, difficulty interfacing with society, blah, blah, those diagnostics all seem to describe me to some degree, but there are other factors that keep me from feeling like I ought to go get all my issues diagnosed.  Like for instance, being labelled.  Like being stigmatized.  Like being medicated beyond the symptoms and into the side effects.  Like, incurring additional medical cost when I’m already over budget, and becoming mired in a financial system designed to continually keep me powerless to escape.

There might be good side-effects.  Like being able to actually take time off for mental health reasons when I need a day off.  Like my wife not being able to be in denial, and understanding and helping me handle some of the emotional and other, um, er, ah… effects of the diagnosis.  Like my needing a little bit more attention in certain… areas, iykwim.    If you don’t know what I mean, ask your doctor about bipolar symptoms and marriage.  They know.

This list was amusing because when I blog and when I write it has to flow unless I’m in a poetry thing where I’m going with an idea and filling a frame.  Frames are either helpful constructs that guide you, or they trap you inside them.  Helpful constructs, that’s what poetry forms are, to me.  I can force that sometimes if I have an idea and a frame, or a frame comes out in the first few lines.  Traps are things like that 30 day goal sheet.  I don’t have the discipline to use a frame like the above to write.  Or maybe I do but I get depressed when I fail.  I used to set New Year’s Resolutions, like almost everyone else I know, but I gave up.

For Lent this year, and every year, I gave up giving up things for Lent.  I lose focus.  I tried to read the Bible, a book I know pretty well, through in a few months, and got discouraged because I couldn’t do it.  Mrs M wanted to give up sweets and chocolate, but that wasn’t what I wanted.  I wanted some fucking chocolate, for fucks’ sake!  I lost focus on the goal because of the tasks, skipped a day here and there, couldn’t catch up, didn’t make the goal.  Depressing.  I’ve read it, just not that quickly or daily.

If I have to write something to fit a frame, if it’s something long term, I am just going to be depressed because I have to write something, it has to be on topic, it becomes a burden instead of something I’m just inspired to create.  And this is why, I suppose, I can’t find a job, and get paid, as a writer.  How depressing.  For someone who can deal with high structure and discipline, this list might be pure gold.  For me, this list represents iron shackles and an orange jumpsuit.  The only thing I want that’s orange and high in iron is a screwdriver made with iron-fortified juice, and please, tip that vodka bottle a second or two extra, thank you.

That, what I’ve just written, explains why I feel disenfranchised as a writer.  And disenfranchised in life. And just like that, voilà!  An entry is made into my blog, a natural process, nothing forced.  But I had to wait until after “work” was over, so I could do it without being interrupted.  And I had to really want to finish it.  Sometimes I can do that for a topic, and other times I get distracted and go off.

I think if we were all a bit more free, instead of life making us always feel “made unfree,” things might flow a little bit better.  If I were enfranchised, I might even make money from my writing, which I dearly love to do.  When it’s natural, not forced.  But the definition of a job includes some disenfranchisement, which discourages me.

If my wife would help with the more personal aspects, if a publisher wanted to take on a writer and compensate him exceptionally well when said writer was able to write, I might feel “enfranchised.”  It’s probably too much to ask.  Which is why I bought another lottery ticket yesterday.  Here’s hoping I get all three things I want.

The title?  I meant the list looked funny, not that I was watching a clown.  I AM the clown.  Send me in.

~DM

Adjusting

Our eyes adjust to light and dark, we learn to move and see
In almost any circumstance, functional, relatively.
In darkness our eyes dilate to maximize the light,
So we don’t hurt ourselves, and it’s the opposite when bright-
In light we’re not as blinded when pupils contract.
When life changes, as with light, why’s it so hard to adapt?
I do so poorly with surprises, some days I panic.
Some days I want to just stay home in bed, I feel so sick.
It would be nice to find we support each other through it.
When we can’t cope, when life hands us a bucket full of shit.
Every day the crises come, change cannot be avoided.
Too few love and give real support. I’m always disappointed.
We’re selfish, we burn each other, it’s so hard to be trusting
Is it such a difficult thing, to care?  Why’s that “adjusting?”
Our lives are full of stress and change we can’t anticipate
Why can’t we all love each other instead of trading hate?